So here I am, my baby boy is 10 months old (how the hell did that happen?!). I’m now on Australian soil and have an apartment in Waterloo, Sydney with Stephen and Albie. I’ve found myself at the receiving end of many questions asking about my move to the UK 12 months ago and then back down under again 2 months ago. It has been a massive roller coaster 18 months since I found out I was pregnant and to be honest, my feet have never really touched the ground.
I’ve been mulling over where to begin after such a hiatus, so I figured (after many a deliberation) that the best place to start was at the beginning. So much has happened in such a short space of time, the only way I can break this down is into manageable (hopefully enjoyable, and sometimes informative chunks!).
Let’s rewind to November last year, we’d decided that Feb was going to be the ‘deadline’ month that we would leave our life in England, our home, our family and Stephen’s work. We felt that we wanted to have Albie’s first Christmas at home, and ideally we wanted our first (and last Xmas) at our first family home. It didn’t quite work out as we wanted it, but we’re still so glad that we stayed in the UK none the less. We ended up driving round the NW of England to see everyone and covered 75 KM on Christmas day in the car, which was less than ideal with a five month old. At least everyone got to see Albie on the day (thanks to Stephen for driving), and we had our own little Xmas dinner for just us, that I prepared for our lovely new dining room (which we got to use about 10 times, ha!).
I’d surprised Stephen with a trip to London for his first birthday as a dad, partly because I wanted to see as much of England as we could before we made the ‘big move’. We went for the weekend of the 12th November and stayed in Shepherd’s Bush. We’d already had a few cross words about the trip as Stephen had said we couldn’t afford it, however I explained that we needed the quality time (especially as he had been working ridiculous hours, and that I was going stir crazy in the house all the time on my own.)
One of the things I struggled with in the UK was how little we saw of people, from going to Australia where you could do something every night and you friends become your family, to the UK and 25 miles up the road was that little step too far. I get it’s a culture thing absolutely and I was more isolated than most as my mum and grannie live in Spain and my dad works away in the middle east a lot. My friends also had their own lives (very busy ones) too with families, jobs and social lives of their own.
We arranged parties at our house so we could make the most of the large space that we had, and to show off our hard work. Knowing that we were leaving, we wanted to make as much effort as possible.
I also shot myself in the foot, as I knew I was moving back to Australia, I didn’t join any mum’s groups or reach out to other new mums in the area. I did take Albie to baby sensory and baby massage at the local Thornton Children’s Centre, which was amazing, but didn’t make lasting friendships with the mums as again, I knew I was leaving.
Another group we went to was ‘Water Babies’ in Wigan Total Fitness (my old stomping ground), which we did two courses of (Albie completed his Chapter 2) from the age of three months. I’ll chat more about this in another post but will say that it was absolutely amazing and now that we’re living in Australia, Albie’s confidence in the water really shines through.
Back to our London trip, it was s special to me that we were able to spend the time together as a family and that the cost was irrelevant to me for the quality time that came as a result. I don’t know about other mums, but I really struggled with having inconsistency when it came to post baby income. I didn’t claim maternity in the UK and my two businesses in Australia were either running themselves at breakeven whilst I took the time with my new family, or went on hiatus for the same reason.
The fact that Stephen supported us for a year whilst I was in the UK was an absolute godsend and I’ll be eternally grateful, luckily I was able to secure some freelance PR work throughout the year to stop me losing my marbles completely, I was working until the night before I had my C section and started work from a freelance capacity nine weeks after Albie was born on a casual basis. I also started this blog and kept Sydney Social 101 afloat financially throughout this time, which again, helped to keep me sane.
An argument that kept (and continues) to come up is about money, which is hard to take when you’re so used to being independent and not relying on anybody. It’s hard enough not working anymore and feeling like you’re ‘just a mum’, without being reminded that you also aren’t earning a regular wage. It’s interesting now as Stephen is now the one who is at home with Albie for three days whilst I go to work, and he also now can’t work until his tourist visa expires and his de-facto visa kicks in. (I’ll do another post about the visa situation and my tips to make it as easy as possible).
I guess I am I a kind of lucky position that my partner now has some understanding that, although having the time with Albie is amazing as you watch your little person develop their personality, make you smile and when he giggles it melts your heat, it can also leave you feeling lonely (he doesn’t talk back) and intellectually (and financially!) suppressed. I would imagine that this is x 100 when you’re also in a new country, with not many friends of your own, no job and having just given up a job that you did for 12 years and sold a house that you put your heart, soul and savings into.
We have both been through so much in the nearly two years we have been together (seriously where did that time go!), as a result Stephen is my rock, but we are both guilty of taking our frustrations out on each other and we’re learning every day how to best communicate with each other, without resulting in a complete breakdown.
I’ll do a separate post about the big move (and all that comes with it, financially emotionally and personally) on here very soon. I get asked a lot about what it involved and how the hell we managed the flight with an eight month old! (Surprisingly the latter was much easier than we anticipated). It’s the ‘starting again’ which is the hardest, when you’re literally back to the drawing board when it comes to belongings, furniture and your home.
So here I am, back online with a breadth of stories and features to share with you, from flying with a little one, emigrating, struggling with motherhood, going back to work and constant communication breakdowns with your partner. There’s also some massive positives I’d love to chat to you guys about – living in this amazing city, activities for parents and children and the odd review and feature along the way!
We’ve been in Sydney for six weeks now and we’re finally finding our feet. I’ve started to work for an amazing new company in a senior role, we have moved into our new place in Waterloo (which is stunning and has an outdoor pool – living the dream), I’ve introduced Stephen to my friends and he has made new friends and we have our first trip to Brisbane this weekend as a family. A side of that, we only have a sofa, a fridge a bed and a cot furniture wise and we have to do a visa run for Albie next week – but it’s all about baby steps and holding on tight right?!
Thought so! Next post to follow real soon.